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Redundant database info in Item Description


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On 2/1/2022 at 9:18 PM, Fred Slota said:

No it is not.  Redundancy in a database is bad.  It represents bloat, inconsistency, inefficiency.  Your above description is exactly why this is bad.  If there are two places to enter information in a database, it allows you to enter it only in one, only in the other, or in both, meaning you have to make more complicated searches to find everything, and as stated above you have bloat.

I'm able to sit here typing this because I have had redundancy at critical times in my life.  Things fail, they get used incorrectly, they get misplaced but redundancy allows us to move forward when it happens.  That's very different from a database, I get that.  Having seen redundancy in action, I will take it any day of the week. 

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50 minutes ago, Fred Slota said:

Printing is a necessary piece of information to identify a book; should that also be repeated in the Notes/ItemDescription?  Annuals are separate items, yet that can safely be kept in its own field.  UPC is also useful to differentiate issues;  I notice no one is advocating repeating this information in Notes/ItemDescription.  

I would say that printing does need to be kept in either location, Notes or Item Description.  The rationale is that with so many variants out there, in the past CB used the printing field to aid in tracking them.  With the recent changes in variant tracking, most or all of this should have been alleviated.  Staring at a screen for long periods of time, it's easily to lose track of things like -A, -3, -A-2, -B-2 and having a backup like "Second Printing" can be very beneficial as not all later printings are so easily identified as X-Force #1-2 with the gold cover. 

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2 hours ago, Douglas W. McCratic said:

I'm able to sit here typing this because I have had redundancy at critical times in my life.  Things fail, they get used incorrectly, they get misplaced but redundancy allows us to move forward when it happens.  That's very different from a database, I get that.  Having seen redundancy in action, I will take it any day of the week. 

Yes, exactly.  That middle part.  And then you go and completely undercut the contrast you set up with your first two sentences and contradict it with your third.

 

Respectfully, now it sounds like you are grasping at straws in attempt to justify or strengthen the argument.  Databases are not meant to have redundancy.  They are meant to organize information in an efficient and consistent manner.  Repeating "cover by" thousands of times makes a database larger, take longer to load, longer to search, longer to longer to rebuild notes, etc.  Using a free-form text field allows multiple styles of recording a a piece of information such as "cover by Joe Smith" and "Joe Smith cover" and cover artist Joe Smith" and Joe Smith (cover artist)", making searching and sorting difficult and/or unknowingly incomplete and/or impossible. 

If you want redundancy against errors, or catastrophes, or personal info versus supposed public info, keep parallel databases or backup databases.  Or when attempting to submit modifications for acceptance in the master database, copy the data (temporarily or permanently) in one of the custom text fields.  The desire to carry a piece of information officially in two places in a database "just in case" is a really poor justification.

 

Also, wanting printing doubled in Notes or ItemDescription?  Why.  The book should be identified as -2, or -3; if it's not, that's bad.   If "Staring at a screen for long periods of time, it's easily to lose track of things like -A, -3, -A-2, -B-2", then make the "Printing" or "Type" or "Variation" field visible and more prominent in grid view.   Having a Note or ItemDescription that reads "Second Printing" provides no information to help you identify how you would tell a second printing from a first printing, no more than having the issue tagged as -2 or -3 does.  You tell them apart by notes like "Foil Cover" or "blue background" or CoverArtist "Joe Smith" or "Steve Jones".

 

Cover Artist is useful information.  So useful that after, what, 15 years, it was elevated out of the catch-all of "Notes" and given its own separate "CoverArtist" field.  Just like a description of what separates different variations from each other was also pulled out of "Notes" a couple of years later and given its own separate "ItemDescription" field.  I realize there is history in using this information in the old way, and that the migration of this information out of "Notes" and into "CoverArtist" and "ItemDescription" is inconsistent and incomplete.  But we should embrace the change and use it.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to share the Editorial Team's preferred format approach when it comes to variants...

 

For the Item Description Field:

if its a general variant cover it would be formatted like so: Variant Cover by Joe Smith

If its a lettered variant it be: Cover A by Joe Smith

If the variant is from a special source like a comic shop or convention it would be like so: Red Star Comics Variant Cover by Joe Smith

later printing variants (which apparently is thing these days) would be like so: 2nd Printing Variant Cover by Joe Smith

If you know the ratios like its a 1 in 25 variant, it would be like so: 1:25 Variant Cover by Joe Smith

 

For the notes field:

there's no need to repeat any of item description variant details in the notes field.

If the variant has a limited run, a note like so can be included: Limited to 1,000 (limited number can be also be noted in the circulation field)

if it includes a certificate of authenticity, a note like so can be included: Includes Certificate of Authenticity

 

I'll share more as the Editorial team thinks of them but those are the most common variant types that we tend to see these days.

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1) Happy with the consistency with the Item Description field "Cover by Joe Smith".  A little unhappy with the "Cover A by Joe Smith", as search for "cover by Joe Smith" won't find them, but I understand.

2) Cover Artist names should also (well, really only, but...) be entered in the "Cover Artist" field.  "Cover A by Joe Smith" crisis averted.

3) Limited Run is usually a quality of a variant, not of the generic issue across all variants.  As such, this quality should rightly go in the Item Description field, yes?  I thought Notes was for overall issue data, while Item Description was for variant-to-variant differences.

4) Happy with the consistency of "Limited to 1,000".

5) Limited run counts should also (well, almost really, but...) be entered in the Circulation field.  (BTW, the Super Bowl pregame and game was sufficiently non-eye-catching for me that I was able to manually correct or copy all (I think) limited run mentions in Notes and Item Description into the Circulation field, judging from the uptick in my submission counts over the last couple of days, which I'll verify with the next data update or two, as you can't see that number on AtomicAvenue)

6) is "CoA" acceptable in place of "Certificate of Authenticity"?  Is it preferable?

 

Thank you for the feedback.

Might I suggest that a curated version of this information be, at a minimum, collected and pinned to this forum section?  By curated, I recommend that it be a post that is edited as necessary but locked for replies, or that is curated to only include official additions and not become a running conversation.  I suggest the same thing be done with the earlier thread about "Advanced Find tricks", that it only include various searches and omit the conversations that dilute the nuggets of information.

Edited by Fred Slota
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if a comic is limited to 100, is it the same as a 1:100 release?

Some users may not know what COA stands for so whole 'Certificate of Authenticity' is preferred in the notes field.

 

You'll probably see an new post down the line about our approach on the Item Description when it comes to variants where we list all the different types for easier reference; there are other types i think we are forgetting that we'll want to clarify. Feel to mention any that might have been missed. BTW, I believe Pete will be discussing this a bit with the upcoming livestream.

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If the variant comic was limited to 100 relative to a regular variant of 10,000 (or is it 9,900?), then I suppose it could be listed as either "Limited to 100" or "1:100".

 

Incidentally, is it preferred "1:100" or "1 in 100"?

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I did a round of clean-up submissions a few weeks ago (which I believe were all accepted) attempting to provide consistent spelling.  Looks like there are under 20 that might need a second look.

 

wraparound (not wrap around or wrap-around)

gatefold (not gate fold or gate-fold)

cardstock (not card stock or card-stock)

splatterstock (not splatter stock or splatter-stock)

die-cut (not die cut or diecut)

glow-in-the-dark (not glow in the dark or glow)

pin-up (not pin up or pinup, although I left a few)

tri-fold (not tri fold or trifold)

 

Also, looked to rephrase around foldout, fold-out or fold out for gatefold or tri-fold.

 

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9 minutes ago, Fred Slota said:

If the variant comic was limited to 100 relative to a regular variant of 10,000 (or is it 9,900?), then I suppose it could be listed as either "Limited to 100" or "1:100".

 

Incidentally, is it preferred "1:100" or "1 in 100"?

A 1:100 (or 1 in 100) variant means that it was (in principle) retailers received one copy of that variant for every 100 copies that they ordered.  In theory.  There have been instances of these kinds of "incentive variants" showing up on distributor order forms many months later, indicating that there were surplus copies printed and that the total number of copies printed cannot be ascertained by collectors. 

That is different from a comic that has a known, limited copy count that was advertised as such.  

Thus, I am recommended *against* interchanging the two types of descriptors for variants.  They mean different things and have different implications regarding their availability for collectors.  

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Quote

If a comic is limited to 100, is it the same as a 1:100 release?

No it is not.

If a variant as limited to 100, Only 100 copies of that variant were created.

What 1:100 means isn't about what is produced. It is what is ordered. If a retailer orders 100 copies of the Regular issue, they will receive (or can order) 1 copy of the Variant.

 

 

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22 hours ago, Steven L. Dasinger said:

No it is not.

If a variant as limited to 100, Only 100 copies of that variant were created.

What 1:100 means isn't about what is produced. It is what is ordered. If a retailer orders 100 copies of the Regular issue, they will receive (or can order) 1 copy of the Variant.

 

 

Agreed. I was just curious if everyone was on the same page about these 2 things being different; there seemed to be a bit of confusion going on.

-With that said, if a comic is Limited to 100, that info should be mentioned in the notes field.

-A ratio number like 1:100 (aka 1 in 100) would be noted in the Item Description field at the very beginning like 1:100 Variant Cover by Joe Smith.

 

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Am I misinterpreting?  I thought that Item Description was for things that were different variant to variant, and that Notes was for things that were consistent across variants...

 

So, when a variant is a "Shanda the Panda Variant Cover by Joe 'Shang' Smith Limited to 1,000", the linked information about the variant cover, theme, artist, circulation and limited status should be split across Item Description and Notes and not all in one field?

 

(Of course, Cover Artist and Circulation should rightly be in their own fields, and the act of labeling as "Shanda the Panda Cover" makes "Variant" slightly redundant but understandable as a search term)

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